ADVISORY COUNCIL ON TENNESSEE INDIAN AFFAIRS

 

Saturday 27 November 2004

The quarterly meeting of ACTIA was held on Saturday, November 27, 2004 at Blakemore United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN. At 10:30 a.m., Chairperson David Teat called the meeting to order and expressed his thanks for those who had traveled so far and to Melba Eads for securing the meeting place. Opening prayer was led by Tommy Veal.

In attendance:

David Teat Ų Nashville

Donna Bivens Ų West Tennessee

Melba Checote Eads - Middle Tennessee

Dale Mitchell Ų Middle Tennessee

John Hedgecoth Ų East Tennessee

Tommy Veal Ų Knoxville

The following visitors were also present: Allyn Hodges, East Tennessee; Tommy Bivens, West Tennessee.

The agenda was reviewed, amended and approved.

There was no report available from TCIA.

There was no report available from TNNAC.

The financial report was given by Donna Bivens. The balance from the last quarterly meeting was $618.70 after the deduction was made for the new checks. A payment of $19.85 to establish a website and pay for the ACTIA domain name for another year was made to GoDaddy.com. A payment of $17.68 was made to send out registered letters to absentee members informing them of their removal from the Board. There was a payment of $3.95 for the monthly charge for the website. Efforts are underway to obtain a free website provider. The checking account balance after these deductions was $577.22. A motion was made and seconded to accept the financial report. The motion was passed.

Melba Checote Eads presented a report from the Tribal Recognition/Native History Committee. The Committee has had 2 meetings, one on November 8 and one on November 15. The Committee presented recommendations concerning the use of DNA testing as evidence of Indian descent and grandfathering-in of individuals previously recognized by the State of Tennessee. A resolution was proposed to encourage the State of Tennessee to formally acknowledge the various Indian tribes with historical ties to the State.

Donna Bivens presented a report from the Education Committee. With the cooperation of the Tennessee Genealogical Society and the Memphis/Shelby County Library, another genealogy class is scheduled in Memphis for January 29th. The Tennessee Genealogical Society has offered their assistance in setting up genealogy classes across the state, with ACTIA providing oversight and assistance. New classes have been proposed in the Nashville and Knoxville area. The registration fees for the Memphis class will be paid to the Genealogical Society. They will take care of expenses of the printed materials and the remainder of the funds will be sent to ACTIA (Donna Bivens). Of this amount, after all other expenses are paid, two-thirds (2/3) will be given to the presenters and one-third (1/3) will be kept by ACTIA to fund future projects.

There was no activity to report from the Health Committee. Melba Checote Eads stated that she was interested in getting this Committee up and running. David Teat stated that several of the Commissioners were active in the health field and we (ACTIA) needed to begin working with them to make some progress in this area.

There was no activity to report from the Legal Defense Committee.

Dale Mitchell presented a report from the Social/Public Relations/Staff and Support Committee. The Native Tourism Committee was also included in this. Neither Committee has met at this time. Dale stated that he was appointed to the Regional Working Group for TDOT in September. He has attended several meetings with the TDOT group and allowed input concerning the direction we would like for TDOT to take. Dale is on record with TDOT as representing ACTIA as head of the Tourism Committee. Norman Clayton, a TNNAC member from West Tennessee, is also on the Working Group.

David Teat reported that the Chairperson for the Archaeological Advisory Committee, Lee Vest, has had to step down from his position due to health problems in his family. Mr. William Potts, who served as a consultant on the Archaeological Advisory Committee, has also submitted his resignation. David reminded everyone that there were ongoing protests at the Two Rivers site in East Tennessee and also a situation coming up at Little Cedar Mountain which warranted our attention. There will be a public hearing concerning Little Cedar Mountain on December 13th at South Pittsburg High School. Any who could attend were encouraged to do so.

A motion was made and seconded to accept the Committee reports as given. The motion was passed.

Old Business

David Teat proposed the suspension of ACTIA‚s Standing Rules concerning the appointments of new members at large in order to allow additions to the Board. A motion was made and seconded to temporarily suspend the portion of the Standing Rules requiring new members-at-large "who are elected leaders of Native American organizations in Tennessee that have existed for more than four (4) years". Motion was passed.

David Teat presented a list of four (4) names which had been discussed in prior meetings as possible new members-at-large. This included Don Merzlak, Doris Tate Trevino, Jeremy Meeks and Jo Nicholson. A motion was made and seconded that Jo Nicholson be accepted as a member-at-large. Motion was passed. A motion was made and seconded that Doris Tate Trevino and Jeremy Meeks be invited the ACTIA‚s next quarterly meeting and approved for membership at that time. Motion passed. Melba stated that Don Merzlak has resigned from the Tribal Recognition Committee but that he still might be interested in joining ACTIA. John Hedgecoth volunteered to contact him. A motion was made and seconded to re-approach Don Merzlak concerning becoming a member-at-large of the ACTIA Board. Motion was passed.

The status of absentee members was discussed. Dean Jackson, West Tennessee member, submitted his resignation to ACTIA through a statement sent through Donna Bivens. Due to the health of his father and the fact that he has to work a lot of weekends and holidays he was no longer able to attend the quarterly meetings. He still wanted to be included in any committee work that he could help with. A motion was made and seconded that his resignation be accepted due to the circumstances that he had given. Motion carried. Melba Checote Eads made the observation that there should be some method to replace members who resigned with people from the same geographical area. It was discussed and decided that the Board would revisit the issue and decide if it would be feasible to restructure after the Caucus in 2005. Donna Bivens announced that certified letters had been sent out to Joice Fickenworth, Virginia Ann Shields, Alva Crowe and Cubert Bell, Jr. informing them that they were officially removed from the ACTIA Board. If they wanted to be reinstated they could attend the quarterly meeting on today‚s date and plead their case. No response was received from any of them. Kippy Vaughn had submitted a written request to be allowed to remain of the ACTIA Board. She cited her absences as being health and work related. David Teat stated that Kippy Vaughn had submitted her paperwork to the State for consideration as the replacement for John Hedgecoth as Commissioner. If she is not appointed Commissioner she wants to continue on ACTIA‚s Board. The membership roles will be updated to reflect the removals.

David Teat informed the Board that ACTIA had received a request from TNNAC for the Recognition Committee to study the "Indian preference" issue. A motion was made and seconded that the Recognition Committee will continue a study of recognition criteria which will include the issue of "Indian preference" and will submit their recommendations to the Board of ACTIA to then be presented to TNNAC. Motion was passed.

Ideas concerning a logo for ACTIA were again discussed. The "Tree of Peace" suggestion that was presented at the last meeting was revisited. Melba Checote Eads suggested considering the pipe effigy which was found at Seller‚s Farm. It was noted that the image was to appear on a postal stamp at some time in the future and that is was probably registered already. Tommy Veal presented the idea that we use the outline of the State of Tennessee with a single feather lying across the state lengthwise with ACTIA superimposed over the design. He had suggested this design originally for a license plate design with license plate numbers over the top in place of ACTIA‚s name. David Teat made the observation that any logo submitted would have to be at least 30% difference from an existing logo. Melba sketched out the state/feather design for everyone to see. It was agreed to investigate and work on this design for final approval. John Hedgecoth stated that he would compile a variety of options to present at the next meeting. A motion was made and seconded that Melba/Tommy‚s basic design be taken and worked up into a logo for ACTIA and approved on line over the next month. Motion passed.

David Teat reminded everyone that all Committee reports are due at least one week prior to the quarterly meeting. Committee reports are to be submitted to the Board on line by the secretary at least one week prior to the quarterly meeting.

It was decided that a formal letter from the officers of ACTIA to the Tennessee Government Operations Committee would be drafted and sent out in support of the TCIA. Recommendations for what to place in this letter were requested of all Board members. Reasons needed to be given why the State should consider renewing the Commission of Indian Affairs.

A motion was made and seconded to take a lunch break. Motion passed.

New Business

A motion was made and seconded that election of officers be postponed until the next meeting when there would be more Board members present. Motion passed.

Melba Checote Eads presented recommendations from the Recognition Committee. The first recommendation: "At this time the Advisory Council on Tennessee Indian Affairs does not feel comfortable in recommending the use of DNA as a part of the recognition criteria because it is still an emerging science and because it has not been proven to be conclusive in determining the precise Nation, Band or Tribal origins from which an individual is descended." A motion was made and seconded that ACTIA accept this recommendation and pass it on to TCIA. Motion carried.

The second recommendation: "We recommend that the Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs revisit the recognition status of the individuals who were grandfathered-in at the TCIA meeting held on September 18, 2004, and that this grandfathering-in should extend for one year from the date of its adoption, after which, all persons seeking individual recognition as Native American Indians should apply under any new criteria established by the TCIA. Those previously recognized should then re-apply under the new criteria." A motion was made and seconded that ACTIA accept this recommendation and pass it on to TCIA. Motion carried.

Concerning the recognition of organizations, the recommendations of the Committee was to leave (1) was written and change (2) to read "The petitioning group shall be legally established, with appropriate charter, articles of incorporation, by-laws, and/or constitution, in accordance with state laws, and copies of the above-mentioned documents shall be provided."

Part (3) would be eliminated, which, in part, allowed a group to provide a list of all known members, "including identification of Native American Indian members, based on the group‚s own defined criteria of ancestry recognition." A motion was made and seconded that ACTIA accept these recommendations as stated and pass them on to TCIA. Motion carried.

Part (4) would be redefined as follows: "The petitioning group shall be controlled by a governing board and officers whose membership is at least 51% Native American Indian and the two highest ranking board members (chair, vice-chair) and two highest ranking officers (president, vice-president) shall be of verifiable Native American Indian ancestry." A motion was made and seconded that ACTIA accept this recommendation as stated and pass it on to TCIA. Motion carried.

Discussion was brought up concerning part (1) and input was requested from the Board. Part (1) will be reviewed by the Committee and presented for approval at a later date.

David Teat stated that a legislative proposal will be prepared to send to the TCIA pertaining to the recommendation to the TCIA to seek legislative action officially recognizing the known historical tribes and peoples who occupied this area before the States were formed and non-Indian governments took over. Melba added that it was of vital importance in the recognition process to begin with obtaining State recognition of the known historical tribes prior to granting recognition to individuals. A motion was made and seconded that ACTIA write the legislative proposal and submit the recommendation to be presented at the next TCIA meeting in December. Motion carried.

Recommendations have already been sent to TCIA to include definitions of "tribe, band or nation" in recognition criteria. The recommendation has also been made that the word "enrollment" be deleted from the criteria wording because the State does not have the authority to "enroll" any organization or individual.

Melba thanked the Board for their support and encouragement of the Committee work. She acknowledged that it was a big responsibility and Committee members had really put their heart and soul into the recommendations that were submitted for approval. David expressed the Board‚s gratitude to Melba for the outstanding job that she was doing.

Due to the health of a family member, Lee Vest submitted a written resignation as the Chair of the Archaeology Advisory Committee and ACTIA. A motion was made and seconded to accept his resignation as Chair of the Committee but to hold his seat on the Board open until further events unfold. Motion carried.

Dale Mitchell nominated Tommy Veal as Chairman of the Archaeology Advisory Committee. Donna Bivens seconded the motion. Motion carried. Tommy Veal is the new Chairman of the Archaeology Advisory Committee. It was suggested that Tommy contact Commissioner Mangrum and Commissioner Reedy and express ACTIA‚s desire to work with them and insure a team effort on any problems that come to light.

David Teat suggested that ACTIA consider reinstating John Hedgecoth as a Board member. A motion was made and seconded that John Hedgecoth be reinstated as an ACTIA Board member representing East Tennessee. Motion carried.

It was announced that the ACTIA website had been moved to a new ISP and that tom kunesh was no longer the webmaster of the domain. A motion was made and seconded to approve Donna Bivens as the new website administrator. Motion carried. John Hedgecoth offered his assistance whenever needed.

There was a discussion concerning what could and could not be posted to the website without approval of the entire Board. It was suggested that new standing rules should be added as guidelines for administration of the website. The floor was opened for suggestions of what could be posted by the officers without the prior approval by the entire Board. Donna Bivens stated that the time and place of meetings, a calendar, minutes (after approval), dates and times of any classes, changes in officers and committee chairpersons or changes in personal information such as email or snail mail addresses and phone numbers of Board members should be kept up to date without Board approval. A motion was made and seconded that the previously stated items could be added to the website without prior approval by the entire Board. Motion carried. A motion was made and seconded that any other information to be posted to the ACTIA website be brought before the entire Board at the next quarterly meeting. Motion carried.

There was a discussion concerning the application status for the 501©3. Donna Bivens said that she would check on the application fee and requirements for the 501©3 and the status of the Charter for ACTIA. A motion was made and seconded that all the information necessary to file for the 501©3 status be compiled and presented at the next quarterly meeting. Motion carried.

Donna Bivens presented a proposal that ACTIA assist the TCIA in creation of a program to process the applications for individual recognition. Donna had received information concerning a computer program that was in use by the Kentucky Commission of Indian Affairs which created a data base of Indian ancestry from census records and applications that they were willing to share with the TCIA. David Teat stated that he was not in favor of ACTIA getting involved in this type of commitment at this time. He suggested that this was something that could be researched and reconsidered at a future date. Dale Mitchell also agreed that the information needed more research.

Dale Mitchell stated that it would be a good idea to post meeting dates of TCIA and TNNAC on our proposed web calendar. David Teat suggested that we contact the two organizations and make sure it would be alright to post that information.

Donna Bivens suggested that each Committee consider a grant proposal to submit to the ACTIA Board in the coming year in view of the fact that ACTIA would most likely be receiving their 501©3 status soon.

A motion was made and seconded granting approval of all upcoming genealogy classes. Motion carried.

Discussion was entered concerning the modification of by-laws. David Teat suggested that procedures concerning removal of a Board member, establishing procedures for handling complains, hearing procedures, scheduling of hearing complaints and scheduling of hearings be established, discussed and entered into the by-laws. John Hedgecoth suggested that Robert‚s Rules of Order might have procedures for handling something of this nature. John Hedgecoth was suggested to head a Committee to study the By-laws and submit recommendations for amendments. Dale Mitchell and Donna Bivens were also tapped to sit on the committee. A motion was made and seconded that an Operational Procedures Committee be formed. Motion was passed. David Teat opened the floor for nominations for Chairperson for the Committee. Donna Bivens nominated John Hedgecoth. Dale Mitchell seconded the motion. Motion carried. David suggested that John be allowed to select Committee members and solicit information and help from other organizations and individuals. The Committee was charged to bring recommendations to the next quarterly meeting.

Dale Mitchell suggested that we be aware of changes that TNNAC might make in the election process and how it would impact the ACTIA by-laws. The Operational Procedures Committee was charged in keeping up with any changes that TNNAC implements.

The next quarterly meeting of ACTIA was scheduled for 19 February 2005. The time and place will be announced at a later date.

The meeting was adjourned with a closing prayer.

These minutes are submitted for approval of the Board of the Advisory Council on Indian Affairs on 9 January 2005.

Donna Bivens

Secretary/Treasurer